The amount of negativity on social media surrounding this signing was, unexpected, for me anyway. Leon Balogun was a well liked and the majority of fans were left bemused when his contract wasn’t extended.
So what’s changed? Well, he’s a year older and only made 16 Championship appearances due to injury. It seems obvious that he’s been signed to take Leon King’s place in the squad while he recovers from injury.
So how often will he play? Currently he’s 4th choice. It’s expected that Rangers will sign another centre back though, so is he happy being 5th choice? You would have to imagine that’s a conversation Michael Beale had before he signed the contract.
Leon Balogun Last Season
As previously mentioned, he only made 16 Championship appearances. That being said, his defensive numbers were impressive;
- 5 Clean Sheets
- 1.8 Interceptions Per Game
- 1.6 Tackles Per Game
- 60% Total Duels Won (6.1 Per Game)
He made zero appearances between the start of November and April but impressed in the last four games of the season. In one of the most competitive leagues in the world, these are great numbers.
Especially for a 34-year-old (at the time). These numbers in one of the most competitive leagues in the world is exemplary. He’s proved he’s still capable of defending well at a good level.
His Previous Spell at Rangers
Leon Balogun was a fan favourite in his previous spell at the club. Again, though, injuries played a part in how many games he could play. These were his SPFL numbers for the 21/22 season;
- 21 Appearances (17 Starts)
- 5 Clean Sheets
- 1.5 Interceptions Per Game
- 1.3 Tackles Per Game
- 61% Total Duels Won (6 Per Game)
Again, impressive defensive numbers. If his availability was better I’m not sure there would be as much apprehension surrounding this deal.
Apart from the age factor, fans are looking at the how many injuries he’s picked up in recent seasons. What good is a back up if they’re injury prone?
I don’t think this is a terrible signing but that’s assuming he’s not being asked to play 20 games this season. It would be very interesting to know if this deal would’ve happened had Leon King not suffered that serious injury.
This is one the fans will just have to wait and see with. He adds experience and personality to the squad but I don’t think anyone would be happy seeing him playing 20+ games this season. Rangers still need another centre back added that’s further up the pecking order. Could it be Jonathan Panzo? Time will tell.
How do you feel about this one? How often do you think Leon Balogun will play this season?